19 Nov 2010

Taipa occupation could damage settlement process- PM

6:38 am on 19 November 2010

Prime Minister John Key says the occupation of land at Taipa in the Far North could damage the Treaty settlement process.

The occupation is being led by John and Wi Katana Popata, two brothers who last year were sentenced to 100 hours community work after pleading guilty to assaulting Mr Key as he entered Waitangi marae on Waitangi Day.

Mr Key told Waatea News that it's undermining the work that Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson is doing to settle the Muriwhenua land claims.

"If there's a genuine claim there," he said, "then the right track is to take that up with the negotiations minister and his team."

Mr Key said the Popata brothers, who are nephews of Maori Party MP Hone Harawira, are trying to paint the occupation as a protest relating to the foreshore and seabed issue, when it is clearly not.